THE BLOG
05/24/2009 06:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hey Steve! Where's Brooklyn?

Steve Wolfram's new search engine is powered by a huge database and a supercomputer, but can't find a haystack let alone a needle.

WoframAlpha is a new search engine that launched to great fanfare this past week. It is supposed to track down all kinds of data that can be calculated in some way: population of a city, exports of a country, a stock price, etc.

The site claims to have amassed 10+ trillion pieces of data including lots of geographical knowledge. Somehow in all that amassing, nobody told the engine that there is a place called Brooklyn, NY. Wolfram comes up with Brooklyns in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa! But not the biggest one in NYC.

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When you type in Queens, the answer is even better -- it doesn't know about Queens, NY; instead Wolfram gives back: Leaders -- President -- Barack Obama, Vice President, Joe Biden. Queen Elizabeth must be miffed.

Searching for Manhattan gives the population of the entire city of NY; some Manhattanites may feel that way, but this is supposed to be a very accurate, mathematically-driven search engine.

Here's hoping for WolframBeta.